©2011 D. Paul Angel
"Smooth" Tony Noland walked up the creaking steps of the old Brownstone. Once low-income housing, the various apartments were now rented on an hourly, if not minutely, basis. He reached the top floor, and walked all the way to the end of the hall to where a large, bear of a man was standing in front of a door.
"Arturo," Tony said genially while brushing tiny bits of lint off his clean, white suit.
"You shouldn't be here Mr. Noland," he answered with chagrined directness. "Mr. Ferruccio said that your weren’t to be anywhere near his brother."
"I don't doubt that, Arturo, I really don't," Tony said sympathetically. "But, things change. I guarantee you he would not say a word of objection right now to me seeing Eligio."
"I find that very hard to believe Mr. Noland," Arturo answered. "But I find it very easy to believe that you would come here to try and convince me to let you in."
"Again, I can't really say as I blame you. Which is why, when I'm in charge, I'll remember you, Arturo. You’re sacrifice today is really going to help."
Arturo genuinely laughed at this. A deep, rolling rumble of a laugh that rang down the hall. Tony chuckled, too. He had, after all, cultivated the notion that he was more or less harmless. At least until he had had the opportunity to seize Ferruccio’s structure, that is. Arturo was still catching his breath when he asked through the last few guffaws, "And how am I going to help you?"
Arturo looked on with dubious curiosity as Tony withdrew a white handkerchief from his coat with a flourish. He was too late to react when from its silky embrace Tony withdrew a snub nose .357 and shot him in the chest. Twice. Tony left the body where it was and walked into the room, closing the door behind him.
"How you doing, Eligio?" he softly asked, tingeing his voice with concern despite wanting to wretch from the mix of awful smells in the room. Eligio sat on the bad shaking, huddled under a thin, dirty blanket. He guessed that Eligio had been in withdrawals for quite some time. Doctors would've knocked him out, but when you publicly embarrass your Kingpin brother, your comfort is no longer material.
"You got a fix for me Tony? Just a little bit to, you know, get me through?" He looked up at Tony with lustful hope. Even though Tony was repulsed by the addict’s pathetic plea, he made Damn sure he didn’t show it. "No smack, no. But I do have something else. Here." Tony handed him the gun with the handkerchief, deftly removing the latter without touching the gun itself.
"It's still warm. Was that... I thought that was a dream."
"No, Eligio, not a dream. A nightmare. Your brother sent me. He found out Arturo was skimming and wanted him dealt with. And, you too unfortunately. He figured you'd be passed out, so I could put the gun in your hand and call the police. Two birds, one stone."
"What!? He wouldn't!" Eligio got up and started compulsively pacing the room while shaking his head no. "My brother loves me. He says so. He. Says. So!"
"I know, I know Eligio," Tony said soothingly, "But, you gotta understand, Giuseppe's a business man first. And what you pulled was pretty embarrassing."
"I was just trying to score, Tony. I... He cut me off!" Eligio's screamed echoed in the tiny space of the room, "That dirty sonufabitch cut me off! How was I supposed to score, Tony, huh? How!? He knows I need It! He knows!"
"Easy, Eligio. Remember how many how many times I've tried to help you? That's why I'm here now."
"But, you said you ain't got no smack, Tony. That ain’t help, Tony, that ain’t help."
"That's why I brought you the gun, Eligio. Guiseppe, well, he wants you to disappear. Why do you think you're here instead of a hospital?"
"I don't like hospitals, Tony. Guiseppe knows that."
"I get it, but see, and I hate to be the one to tell you this Eligio, but, he didn't think you'd make it. He was mad as Hell when he called me in. He wanted you gone, but, you’re his brother. So he figured this was better than whacking you"
Eligio sat back down on the bed and wrapped himself in the blanket again. He began muttering to himself and staring and a large patch of peeling yellow paint. "He wouldn't do that."
"Eligio..." Tony said softly, putting his arm around the now shaking man. "I brought you the gun because Guiseppe is coming here. In about ten minutes. And he is expecting to see you marched out of here in cuffs. And, if that doesn't happen..." Tony trailed off as Eligio started crying on his shoulder. Tony cringed internally but decided that absolute control of the Ferruccio gang was well worth losing a suit over.
"He would, wouldn't he?"
"He's a crime boss, Eligio, nothing, not even your beautiful mother, God rest her soul, can come before that."
"So what do I do?"
"You use the gun." Eligio picked it up and stared at it. Tony patted him on the back and walked out, closing the door behind him and making sure to avoid the growing puddle of Arturo's blood. He was halfway down the stairs when he ran into Gervasio coming up.
Gervasio asked, "It’s done? "
"Almost," Tony said. A few steps later and they heard the gun fire one last time. "Now it is."
"Uh, Mr. Noland... I know there's bad blood between you and Ferruccio, but getting his kid brother to off himself might be a bit much, y'know?"
"Too true Gervasio. In fact, if I hadn't already killed him that gun, I bet he'd be downright pissed."